Macron savaged for ‘posturing’ in Brexit row as French president wields veto

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As a result of the protocol checks now take place on some goods travelling between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK. This has infuriated unionists, with anti-protocol protests erupting in loyalist areas across the province.

Boris Johnson is urging the EU to compromise in order to safeguard the Northern Ireland peace process.

However Mr Macron has made clear he will veto any changes to the current arrangements Ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall he commented: “I think it’s not serious to want to review in June what we finalised after years of debate and work in December.”

Conservative MP David Jones claimed the French leader is trying to “show toughness” ahead of presidential elections next year.

He said: “It is posturing. He’s actually been posturing for quite a long time.

“He’s in a very precarious position domestically and quite clearly he is attempting to show toughness as a way of boosting his chances in the approach to the presidential election.

Speaking to MailOnline, he added: “Given that the UK and the US both agree that pragmatism is necessary, I would imagine that the EU will pay attention and, if so, he is going to be out of step with the rest of the bloc.”

On Thursday several hundred loyalists marched through Belfast’s Shankill Road demanding the protocol is scrapped.

Protesters, some wearing balaclavas, burned a large banner calling for a united Ireland.

Loyalist rioting across Northern Ireland in April was attributed in part to anger over the protocols.

Earlier this year the UK unilaterally delayed imposing some customs checks on Northern Ireland sparking legal action from the EU.

Brussels is warning of further action unless Britain begins implementing the protocol in full.

However Mr Johnson is urging greater flexibility to make the protocols work.


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Speaking to the BBC on Thursday he said: “You will understand that there are ways of enforcing the protocol, ways of making it work, that may be excessively burdensome.

“I just give you one statistic: 20% of the checks conducted across the whole of the perimeter of the EU are now done in Northern Ireland, three times as many as happen in Rotterdam.”

The protocol was introduced in a bid to stop a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, threatening the peace process.

Instead checks take place on goods travelling across the Irish Sea.

Maros Sefcovic, the EU’s lead negotiator with Britain, claimed there are “numerous and fundamental gaps” in the protocol being implemented.

In an article for the Daily Telegraph he warned Brussels “will not be shy in reacting swiftly, firmly and resolutely to ensure that the UK abides by its international law obligations”.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister argued the difficulty is being caused by the EU taking an unnecessarily “purist” approach to the protocol.

They said: “The protocol was a compromise.

“We didn’t expect the EU to take a purist approach when implementing it.”
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